Still talking like gravel sounds an hour before Good Friday service found my faith firm. When it came time I spoke clearly and audibly into the microphone. Sitting in the dark behind a black curtain I marveled that it was my dry rasping voice filling the candlelit room. And that it didn't sound dry and rasping but full of Christ life. I have no pretensions to my voice, it's not professional, it's not beautiful, but it's His.
Living lent with my family these past weeks gave me many good points of contact with them. One of my favorites was with Rowan. We were talking about how Jesus died for us and what that meant. Just us two alone in the kitchen. I said, "And that is how He died. But you know that's not all that happened, right?" Rowan's eyes twinkled and expanded and he answered, "No! He came back to life! AND THAT IS THE BIG SURPRISE!"
He ran off and I sat there stunned. The big surprise? When was the last time I looked at it as that? I've known the end of that story as long as I can remember. But do I? Really does Jesus ever stop surprising us? I think of this week and my struggles, of the mercy I never expect but always find, of the grace that brings joy even out of death, of the myriads of times Jesus has caught me off guard with His love, His forgiveness, His laughter. Yes, Jesus is the big surprise. May I never forget it.
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." Isaiah 49:15